Eastern yellow robin
|Eastern yellow robin|
The eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis) is an Australasian robin of coastal and sub-coastal eastern Australia. The extent of the eastern yellow robin's residence is from the extreme southeast corner of South Australia through most of Victoria and the western half of New South Wales and north as far as Cooktown. Tropical Northern Queensland birds are mainly restricted to the warm heights of the Great Dividing Range.
The eastern yellow robin was first described by ornithologist George Shaw in 1790. Two subspecies are recognised; the northern yellow robin (subsp. chrysorrhoa) and the nominate or eastern (subsp. australis). The former was previously regarded as a separate species and called the southern yellow robin.
Alternatively, the eastern and western yellow robins were classified as a single species by Julian Ford in 1979 on account of similarities in calls, ecology and behaviour. Playback of one species' calls in the other's territory evoked a response.
Like all Australian robins, it is not closely related to either the European robin or the American robin, but belongs rather to the Corvida parvorder comprising many tropical and Australian passerines including pardalotes, fairy-wrens and honeyeaters as well as crows. It belongs to the genus Eopsaltria, whose Australian members are known colloquially as "yellow robins" as distinct from the "red robins" of the genus Petroica.
At 15 to 16 cm (6 in) in length, the eastern yellow robin is one of the larger Australasian robins, and one of the most easily observed. Pairs and small family parties establish a territory—sometimes year-round, sometimes for a season—and seem little disturbed by human presence. They appear not to migrate any great distance, but will make local movements with the seasons, particularly to higher and lower ground.
Distribution and habitat
The eastern yellow robin occupies a wide range of habitats: heaths, mallee, acacia scrub, woodlands and sclerophyll forests, but is most often found in damper places or near water. Like all Australian robins, the eastern yellow tends to inhabit fairly dark, shaded locations and is a perch and pounce hunter, typically from a tree trunk, wire, or low branch. Its diet includes a wide range of small creatures, mostly insects. Breeding takes place in the spring and, as with many Australian birds, is often communal. The nest is a neat cup made of fine plant material and spider web, usually placed in a fork, and expertly disguised with lichen, moss, bark, or leaves.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Eopsaltria australis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Ford, Julian (1979). "Speciation or Subspeciation in the Yellow Robins?". Emu. 79 (3): 103–06. doi:10.1071/mu9790103.
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- Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Oxford University Press, Melbourne. ISBN 0-19-553244-9. Pages 770-788
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